To the Moon

Education for A New Era of Lunar Exploration
a new online course starting Sept. 24, 2007

Course Evaluations!

Here is your chance to tell us what worked and didn't in this course. The questionnaire is a spreadsheet that you can fill in and return to me - I will strip out any references on who the eval came from before sending it to the other faculty. If you prefer you can send it to Laurie - - and she will do the same before sharing it with me and the others.


I didn't say so explicitly, but part of us having a discussion is that you can ask questions of me about any aspect of the Moon, its exploration and this course! You have paid for access to my knowledge and experience, please don't wait for me to bring up a topic - ask away!


Kaguya, Chang’e and Chandrayaan are not familiar names, yet they herald a new era of lunar exploration. These are spacecraft being sent to orbit the Moon by Japan, China and India, starting September 2007. They will be joined in 2008 by America’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. These four ships are the largest armada to the Moon in the nearly 50 years since the USA and the Soviet Union initiated the first era of space exploration.

Half a century ago lunar exploration was fueled by the desire to demonstrate superiority of political systems, now we are returning to learn how to live on the Moon as a precursor to humanity’s move into space. The continuing flood of news, images and discoveries from this second generation of lunar spacecraft offer a timely opportunity for educators to capitalize on the excitement of exploration. And it will also be a time when educators will be expected to understand and explain these programs and their science context to students and the public.

To the Moon is a new graduate level online course to provide educators and other public outreach professionals information about the Moon, these new missions, and ways to use them in science education. The course will be team-taught under the direction of Charles Wood, a lunar scientist, education expert, and the Executive Director of the NASA-sponsored Classroom of the Future, housed at the Center for Educational Technologies (CET) at Wheeling Jesuit University. Chuck has studied the Moon since the first golden age of exploration and is the author of The Modern Moon: A Personal View, a monthly lunar column in Sky and Telescope magazine, and three lunar websites including Lunar Photo of the Day.

Laurie Ruberg, CET Associate Director, is collaborating in the development of the syllabus for the course, dissemination and overall course evaluation. She will also serve as the instructor for one of the weekly topics. Other faculty are Prof. Andrew Fraknoi (Foothill College, Los Robles, CA), Dr. Jennifer Grier (Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, AZ) and Jane Neuenschwander (CET).

This new course is offered entirely online and thus is conveniently available to busy teachers, planetarium and science center workers, NASA outreach staff, after-school educators, the media and anyone else who wants to use the excitement of current space exploration to impact learning by students and the public. The course will use a wiki for communication and sharing. Each week will include readings, discussions, activities evaluations and observing.


Week: Date: Topic: Instructor
1. Sep 24: Introduction to EPO and the Moon – Chuck Wood, CET, WJU
  • The field, course, faculty, expectations, goals and observing
2. Oct 1: Lunar Exploration: Then, Now and Beyond – Chuck Wood, CET, WJU
  • US & Soviets, New missions, science questions and discoveries
3. Oct 8: Exemplary Lunar EPO Projects – Laurie Ruberg, CET, WJU
  • PBL, tools, standards and assessment - This session was moved to Nov 5
4. Oct 15: Fact and Fancy about the Moon – Andrew Fraknoi, ASP, Foothill College
  • Pseudo-science, science fiction, poetry & interdisciplinary approaches to lunar EPO
5. Oct 29: Lunar Rock Certification and PBL – Jane Neuenschwander, CET, WJU
  • Get real lunar rocks in your class or science center – and learn what to do with them
6. Nov 5: Moon on Earth and across the Solar Sytem – Chuck Wood, CET, WJU
  • The Moon as a Rosetta Stone and lunar analogs on Earth - This session was moved to Oct 8.
7. Nov 12: Lunar Misconceptions – Jennifer Grier, Planetary Science Institute
  • Does the Earth’s shadow cause phases, and is there a dark side of the Moon?
8. Nov 19: Teams Project Presentations – Entire Faculty
  • Team presentations of Moon education projects

The Faculty

Dr. Andrew Fraknoi is the chair of the Astronomy Program at Foothill College in California and Senior Educator with the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. He is co-founder and co-editor of the innovative online journal Astronomy Education Review. UPDATE: Andy has just been selected as the recipient of the Richard H. Emmons Award for Excellence in College Astronomy Teaching for 2007.

Dr. Jennifer Grier is a planetary scientist with the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson and is Education Officer of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society.

Jane Neuenschwander directs the NASA Educator Resource Center at CET and has been certifying educators to use lunar rocks in their classrooms for eight years. She was a classroom teacher for twelve years and has led professional development programs for a decade.

Dr. Laurie Ruberg, Associate Director of the CET, has led projects such as BioBLAST™ (which involves students designing a biologically-controlled lunar
base), the evaluation of the NASA Explorer Schools project, and NASA’s recently concluded Mid-Atlantic Region Space Science Broker (MARSSB) program that facilitates partnerships between scientists and educators.

How the Course Will Work

The course will be 100% online, using wikispaces wiki software, which is very easy to use. Wood’s The Modern Moon: A Personal View is an optional textbook resource, and each week there will be faculty-written content and links to relevant websites for readings, and examples of exemplary EPO programs to explore. Also each week there will be a small project for investigation, with a larger, team project due at the end of the semester. Course participants will maintain their own wiki pages on this site as an e-portfolio containing their discussions, short reports, and the final team projects. There will not be formal exams; students will be evaluated by the quality and extent of their participation.

Sign Up

To the Moon (MSM500) is a two credit, graduate level course offered by Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, WV. WJU is an accredited academic institution. Tuition and fees are $660. To enroll please send your name, mailing and email addresses, and contact phone numbers to Chuck Wood; WJU will bill you in September, and at the end of the course issue a transcript.

Development of this course is sponsored by the West Virginia Space Grant Consortium.

Lunar Eclipse icon image at upper left from George Tasroudis with thanks!

This page has been edited 21 times. The last modification was made by - tychocrater tychocrater on Dec 6, 2007 12:53 pm.